(RVShare) — When researching your campground options, RVShare.com suggests would-be campers consider the following:
Location is a big one. If you’re planning to spend time in the water, you will want to make sure a nice body of water is nearby. Likewise, those hoping to see a particular attraction will want to be parked relatively close to that attraction.
Always consider location when looking at a campground, and keep in mind the distance from the highway, the potential for road noise and city noise, the crime rate in any given area, and the distance to things like grocery stores.
Of course, you will also want to consider the campsites themselves. Different people look for different things in campsites, but the following are some suggestions of things you might care about when shopping around:
Size: Will your rig fit? Will you have a yard?
Ground Type: Is the site paved, gravel, or grass? Does this matter to you? Will you be stuck if it rains?
Hookups: Does the site include electric, water, and/or sewer? Which hookups do you need, and which can you live without?
Shade: Will your RV be shaded? If so, how low are the tree branches and will they scrape the RV? And if not, can your A/C keep up?
Obviously, amenities are another important thing to look for when searching for a perfect campground. This is especially true if you plan to spend a lot of time in the RV park, or if there is a particular amenity that will make or break your trip.
Some common amenities that you might be looking for include:
Staying in a place with unpleasant staff can really put a damper on your trip. Avoid this problem as much as possible by doing your research ahead of time. Read reviews and find out what other campers think of the staff. You can also call to make your reservation to get a feel for the demeanor of the front desk staff over the phone.
Lastly, you will want to consider pricing. The cost of RV campgrounds can vary widely, with some camping deals allowing you to pay as little as $10 a night while others cost $100 or more. Make sure you understand the cost of any RV park you choose so you aren’t met with any unpleasant surprises upon arrival.
How to Find Excellent RV Campgrounds
Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for, let’s discuss how you might go about finding that perfect campground. You could of course simply search “campgrounds near me”, but this doesn’t help much in terms of research. Therefore, we recommend that you find a campground app such as The Dyrt (use this link for a free trial).
The Dyrt app has an enormous database with all kinds of campgrounds and even boondocking sites listed. Information is available on each RV campground, and reviews are also viewable on the app, making it easy to get the opinion of other campers. Essentially, this is an all-in-one campground research app that we think every RVer should own.
Other great websites and apps for finding campgrounds and reading reviews include Campendium, AllStays, and Campground Reviews.
Where to Look for Unique Campgrounds
Hoping to find somewhere unique to camp? In that case, you might be better off using Harvest Hosts. This incredible service gives RVers the opportunity to camp in all kinds of cool places that aren’t listed in any other campground database. These campsites might be located at vineyards, on farms, or even at museums.
Most Harvest Hosts sites are dry camping spots that are included with a super inexpensive Harvest Hosts membership. That said, some do offer hookups for an additional small fee.
What all Harvest Hosts sites do include is the chance to experience something new and unique during your camping adventure. Some hosts who are signed up for this service will give guests the opportunity to help with farm chores or go on museum tours, and the vast majority of these campsites include incredible views.
Tips for Camping on a Budget
Harvest Hosts is definitely one of the very best ways to camp on a budget. That said, there are other options, and most campers can stand to have a few different choices in their back pocket. From free dry camping to awesome camping memberships, here are our favorite ways to camp on a budget.
The very cheapest way to camp is to go boondocking or dry camping. Dry camping options can be found on sites such as FreeCampsites.net and Campendium. These sites are free, and many are in beautiful places, but they don’t have any hookups, cell signal is often weak, and driving on rutted out roads is usually required to get to the more remote sites.
Passport America is one of the most popular discount camping clubs out there. It only costs about $44 a year to join Passport America, and in return you can get 50% off campsites all over the country. Most of these campsites include at least water and electric, if not full hookups. That said, each participating campground is allowed to set their own restrictions, and these often prevent weekend stays, holiday stays, and longer stays with the discount.
We also love RV Advisor. While this isn’t technically a discount camping club, it does include a ton of amazing benefits for RVers, one of which is a set of amazing camping discounts. We recommend joining this club for the collection of benefits and enjoying discounted camping, alongside the other awesome perks.
Good Sam Club
Like Passport America, the Good Sam Club is an extremely well known camping club. This one offers a variety of discounts to RVers, including discounts on gas, Camping World merchandise, and campgrounds. In addition to their discount club, Good Sam also offers RV roadside assistance, which can save you tons of money and trouble down the road.
Finally, there is Thousand Trails. We only recommend this option if you plan on camping often, because if you do go out on a regular enough basis, a Thousand Trails annual camping pass can save you a ton of money. This pass costs around $600 a year and gives you the ability to stay at all of the Thousand Trails locations within a chosen “zone” for no additional fee. You can choose to add additional zones or the “Trails Collection” add-on—both options that will give you access to even more parks.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to find awesome places to camp, and many options will even save you a bit of money. Why not start searching today to see what kinds of amazing campsites you can find for your next camping adventure? This will ensure you have the perfect place to park your RV rental.
National Park Availability
Finally, if you plan to set up camp at a National Park — consider availability. In most cases, campsites can be booked six months out. For instance, those wishing to camp the night of June 1st could book as early as January 1st. We recommend booking as soon as that window opens, especially if you’ll be visiting a more popular national park.
The one exception to the six-month booking window is found at Yosemite National Park. Here, the campgrounds open reservation windows in one-month blocks. These are released on the 15th of the month, five months in advance.As an example, someone wishing to visit Yosemite on June 14th would be able to book on January 15th. Meanwhile, those looking to arrive on June 15th would book on February 15th. Because Yosemite reservations fill up within 20 minutes after becoming available, you will want to plan to book at 7am PST on the day your booking window opens. No matter where you’re headed, we recommend setting a reminder so you don’t miss your booking date.
Note: this article was originally published on RVshare.com, a Broadry content partner, and may include affiliate links.